By Christopher Troy
When Gundam SEED debuted on Japanese TV in 2002 (Cartoon Network would later air it in 2004 as part of the new Saturday night Toonami programming block), it was a huge hit in the homeland, which printed money for Sunrise and Bandai. Part of that profit came from model kits, including series protagonist Kira Yamato’s Gundam, the Strike, who launched initially with 3 variants from the get go, only to be upgraded, redesigned or recolored several times. For the next two entries, we’ll be looking at the evolution of the Strike and it’s variants, and see how Bandai got away with packaging the same design so many times. Note that all the skits reviewed for the next 2 articles are on the 1/144th scale. I’ll have a feature on a 1/100th kit soon.
The Alle Strike Gundam
The first variant of the Strike Kira pilots in the series (not including the deactivate version of it), this Striker pack comes with a nifty looking jetback/booster combo.
Out of the 3 Striker pack variants (Sword Strike, Alle, and Launcher), the Alle is probably the best value. It’s an all purpose attack mode, so you get you beam saber (or rather a prefixed hand with beam saber, which I’m not a fan of), beam rifle (without proper gripping hands), shield (which is included in every variant) and said Alle back. It’s fairly large (in scale to the kit) but relatively light, so you don’t have to worry about the Strike itself falling over. And the red/black/grey w/yellow contrasts nicely with the Strike itself.
This is what the kit looks like without the backpack, which is my biggest flaw with the Strike kits. It’s the same model, packaged with a different accessory, which applies to both the 1/144th and 1/100th scale. There’s no differences what so ever, and if you want all 3 packs, you more or less have to buy the same kit 3 times. A smart business mode yes, but kind of a slap in the face to Gunpla completionists.
This is Kira’s 2nd Gundam from SEED. While it looks similiar to the Strike in some ways, it’s a completely different beasts, as wings and sidearms can tell you as such. This kit is a step up from the Strike as it’s only one version of it, but it’s flawed in several ways. First off, it’s pretty fragile. Case in point.
As you can see from the images above, the side rail cannon on the left side of the Freedom snapped off, shortly after assembly I might add. Also those “wings” make the kit top-heavy, making it easy to tumble over. This isn’t much of an issue for the 1/100th scale which I’ve built as well in the past, but for those on budget/limited space, it’s annoying. Unless you’re a big fan of the design, it’s hard to suggest it over the 1/144th Alle or the 1/100th version of the Freedom.
The Strike Freedom isn’t introduced until the 2nd half of Gundam SEED Destiny, which aside from the writer’s attempt to develop Kira’s character more, wasn’t that great of a series. HOWEVER, we get the Strike Freedom, and hybrid of the Freedom and Strike Gundam obviously, the strongest of the 3 kits. Granted it’s a little top heavy like the Freedom, it’s a lot sturdier, and isn’t as likely to topple over as much. However, the 2 deal breakers for me are..
Clear Beam Sabers that you must assemble yourself. Both the Strike and Freedom came with hands with the Sabers already placed in them that required to be painted, which to be honest, were kind of ugly. The Strike Freedom does not have this issue, and the kit can duel wield them without fear of the blades falling out. The clear plastic doesn’t stop there, as there’s also a energy shield that easily snaps onto the Strike Freedom, as well as this cool option.
The ability to have the funnels “launch” is a cool visual, especially once you spread out the wings, canons and guns. The clear plastic gives it’s a cool energy look, and it’s something Bandai incorporated a lot down the line with future kits. This kit is the easiest to recommend out of the 3, despite coming from a sub-par show.
That’s all for this article. Next time we”ll look into the Strike Noir and the Strike Rogue!